A team of researchers from the University of Southampton believe that minuscule particles, or ‘nanoparticles’, emitted from diesel engines could be affecting bees’ brains and damaging their inbuilt navigation skills’. They believe this may stop worker bees finding their way back to the hive.
The team is also investigating the possibility that nanoparticles are one of a number of stress factors that could lead to a tipping point in bee health, which in turn could contribute to bee colony collapse.
“Diesel road-traffic is increasing in the UK and research from the US has shown that nanoparticles found in its fumes can be detrimental to the brains of animals when they are exposed to large doses. We want to find out if bees are affected in the same way – and answer the question of why bees aren’t finding their way back to the hive when they leave to find food,” explains Professor Poppy, who led the research team.
They will now take part in a three-year, £156,000 study to find out more.
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